Chairman McGovern Brings Historic Rules Package to the House Floor to Make Sweeping Ethics Reforms and Increase Accountability and Inclusivity in Congress
WASHINGTON, DC — Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) today brought the historic rules package for the 117th Congress to the House Floor. This package includes sweeping ethics reforms, increases accountability for the American people, and makes this House of Representatives the most inclusive in history. Video of his full remarks is available here and more information on these changes is available here.
Excerpts from Chairman McGovern’s remarks are below, video of his full remarks is available here:
“M. Speaker, a rules package is one of the most consequential things we will consider this entire Congress. And as we stand here in the opening days of this Congress, I’m proud that the reforms before us represent a collaborative process that began many months ago.”
“This is a rules package that encourages us to tackle the most pressing issues facing our nation today. Like climate change, through the continued work of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis…and we are confronting the pandemic without any waste or fraud. That’s through the ongoing work of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis under the stewardship of Chairman Clyburn…It makes reforms to our budget rules so we can deal with these dual challenges through an all-hands-on-deck approach while maintaining fiscal responsibility.”
“We are also focusing on those who have traditionally been left behind through the creation of a new Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth.”
“It honors all gender identities by changing pronouns in the House rules so they are gender neutral. Look, we made this change for the sake of inclusion, not exclusion. But then I heard the distinguished Minority Leader say that we are cancelling Mother’s Day. The House rules are powerful, but they aren’t that powerful!”
“He also claimed that these rules make it so Members can no longer say father, mother, son, or daughter. M. Speaker, has he even read these rules? That’s just not how this works! And by the way, our Founding Fathers are still our Founding Fathers.
M. Speaker, this is why people hate Congress! Can’t we hold ourselves to a higher standard?”
“If my Republican friends want to disagree on policy – disagree on the actual policy. That shouldn’t be a radical idea! Accuracy matters, and it should come before saying whatever helps you get another hit on Fox News. If my mother is watching: mom, I am not taking away Mother’s Day.”
“This rules package also requires that oversight plans from committees include how they intend to combat race, gender, and other inequities; and it makes the Office of Diversity and Inclusion permanent. This will commit our institution to creating a diverse workforce for many years to come.”
“As we tackle these issues, M. Speaker, this rules package creates a more transparent process for ideas to be considered:
It makes permanent the requirement that all bills that come before the Rules Committee get a hearing and mark-up first; it preserves the Motion to Recommit while making reforms so it can no longer be used to highjack the legislative process for political gamesmanship. We are also continuing temporary rules changes that have ensured we completed the people’s work as safely as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Now I want to speak candidly for a moment, M. Speaker. As important as these reforms are, and as proud of them as I am, I know there is something even more important – and that’s the foundation they are built upon. Ethical leadership must be the bedrock principle of this and every Congress. If the American people do not begin to trust their fundamental institutions again, then division, conspiracies, and mistruths will continue to fester.”
“This body – each of us – must do our part. No matter what side of the aisle you are on or who you vote for, we must hold ourselves to the highest standard of leadership. People can and should question our positions on the issues. But we should never act in a way that invites anyone to question our motivation. That’s why this rules package doesn’t just tinker at the edges – it breaks new ground through transformative ethics reforms.”
“Democrats have been entrusted by the American people to lead this institution. But a rules package is about more than party. It’s about making this chamber work at its best for the people we represent. These reforms will do that. They will hold us to a higher standard, so we get it done for them – and in a way that makes the public proud.”